Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Monday, May 2, 2011
The second post was as real and honest reflection I have read so far this semester. She gave a great analogy of cheering for the underdog at dog races in Florida and how her students are underdogs because so many teachers have bet against them. She went on to reflect on how she had dropped the ball on really learning who are students are this year and what they needed. She made a commitment to do better from here on out. I think she said it well here, "Underdogs rarely start off strong and many times the game they play is not all that pretty. The only thing that should matter is what the score is at the end of the game. "
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Well, bless her heart!
Aside from having students detect metaphors in written works, having them listen for, write down and explain metaphors in their favorite television shows or movies would be a great way to help them become aware of metaphors. I still get confused between some metaphors and similes. Learning to really distinguish between the two would show mastery in my opinion.
My favorite use of metaphors would be for sarcasm, with a close second being to relate a difficult concept in a way people can more readily understand. Students need to study metaphors for many reasons. Metaphors make life more interesting, complex, beautiful, entertaining, and meaningful. If a student can find, understand and explain a complex metaphor, they are exercising reasoning skills that will benefit them throughout life. It's hard to think understanding something like "Love is in the air," could improve one's mental abilities, but I believe it does since you have to understand and compare multiple meanings.
Lisianna Emmett, Michelle French, Tracy Hunt and Jennifer Silcox
Monday, April 25, 2011
Thanks in advance!
Lisianna Emmett, Michelle French, Tracy Hunt and Jennifer Silcox
Sunday, April 24, 2011
ALEX is another way for teachers to share lesson plans that really work with each other as well. Now, granted, ALEX should not be used a crutch for lesson planning. Most of the plans I viewed were from 2005. Information and new ideas change faster than lesson plans apparently do on ALEX. ALEX is not alone in this, as most things in education seem to move slower than the real world, but I digress. Even if ALEX was updated yearly, in my field, science, things tend to develop and change quickly. I will always remember sitting in my freshman astronomy class at South and Dr. Clark telling us that despite Pluto's demotion that week, we would still act like there are nine planets orbiting our Sun since the textbook said so. We all (Dr. Clark included) found this amusing as the semester progressed.
My point is, like most everything this semester, ALEX, ACCESS, AMSTI, etc. are all great tools, great resources, great jumping-off points. However, they are not final and need to be updated before being used.
Friday, April 22, 2011
The first comment for kids this month was a little unusual. It wasn't for a student's blog, but rather a class blog. I was assigned to Mr. McClung's post on the Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure post. I thought it neat that Mr. McClung encourages his students to give to such a great charity. It wasn't a requirement, but he did "sweeten the pot" by allowing the class with the most funds raised to shave his head. Not only his, but the boys in the class could shave theirs too and the girls could dye their hair pink. Since they are only 6th graders I wonder if participating in the charity walk would count toward community service hours for graduation if an Alabama school did something like this?
Week in Review 24/02/11
I really enjoyed my next comment for kids assignment. KM is a year 6 student and blogged about a physics experiment the class conducted with paper airplanes. As a biology major, anything science related interests me. I asked if the class figured out why paper clips on the planes helped them fly further. I didn't get a response yet, but still found the experiment to be a great visual and hands-on learning tool for exploring the physics of flight.
Grace's Post on Quality Comments
Grace is one of Mrs. Yollis' third graders. She composed a well thought out, visually appealing post on how to write quality comments. She suggests the following steps: make a connection, pose a question, always comment back when someone comments on your post, and never publish anything until you are certain your spelling and grammar are correct. Finally, she poses two questions to end her post. "Have you ever had a conversation with a friend, a family member, or someone you do not even know?" "What is your favorite step in quality commenting?" I answered her questions as follows: "I recently received comments from two ladies who were not in my class and it really made my day. I followed your advice here for leaving quality comments and I was able to have a nice conversation with them. I really like the picture you used and I was just wondering if you or Mrs. Yollis wrote that? Diagrams are a great way to learn. I use them often when I am learning something new." In case you missed it, I did not answer her last question. I think what happened is I misread because I said my favorite part of blogging is getting comments. I should have said my favorite part of quality commenting is asking questions because it allows the conversation to continue.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
|From Jeanette Schill|
I'm a week away from finishing my student teaching.
Here are some things that I've learned along the way. Some I knew and believed; others have really just been driven home along the way.
- Certain students will always try your patience. You just have to learn to deal with it. It's probably just an aspect of their personality that they can't control.
- Be prepared to spend your own money.. perhaps lots of it.
- Your students may not always listen, but they SEE everything — actions speak louder than words.
- You have to be prepared for anything to happen during school. I’ve sewn shirts, written out study guides because a computer froze, and completely revamped a lesson 5 minutes beforehand.
- I learned that you can survive on very little food because you're not thinking about how hungry you are until you're finally still.
- Keep any copies that you make in a separate folder for students who lose theirs. If you see you only have one left, make some more copies. It's a lifesaver.
- Believe in your students even if they don’t believe in themselves.
- Let the students know that you are not infallible—be comfortable enough with yourself that you can admit when you do not know an answer and that you are willing to learn with your students.
- Classroom management-- Ok, so I got an entire course on it… It wasn’t enough, and I didn’t get to practice them early enough. All the plans assume that the students care about grades and success and getting in trouble, many don’t, so the strategies don’t work.
- I learned how strong teachers' bladders can be!
- I learned to compromise with my kids at times, and found that you must make sure that students have technology before you assign something that requires it, or make arrangements to provide them with time at school.
- I learned that students react differently to teachers who don't worry so much over things like what color their shoes are. Students not only did their work but got it in early.
- I knew this but I really learned how important planning is. The kids know when you haven't.
- I wish I had known how much it would hurt when a student you have grown to care about blatantly lies and stabs you in the back. I had to learn not to take things so personally.
- I found out how easy it is to frustrate a parent, especially a concerned one. You really have to work and word things carefully. The smallest little incident in class can come back to haunt you.
- I wish that someone had told me how complicated makeup assignments and absences can be when you have 120 students all on different assignments. You have to learn how to give that fatal zero, and devise a system that makes students more accountable for their own work.
- I wish that someone would devise a new curriculum that would help students develop vocabulary and force them to read. It's the biggest problem with their performance across the board, even in other classes.
- I wish I had known that counting to 3 actually still works as a means of disciplining 10th graders, and that how much they actually hate seating arrangements can work to your advantage. Raising your voice only works for a few minutes and you're back to square one.
- I learned how to adapt when technology crashed, which it often did, and how to be versatile when classes end up a day or so behind each other. I learned that you can't cover every single thing that you plan to cover.
- I learned that kids can't be 100 percent quiet, and that it really can't be expected. A buzzing classroom is an awake classroom!!
- I learned that you come up against tons of controversial and often ridiculous policies handed down from the central office that you just have to deal with.
- I learned to compromise with my kids at times, and found that you must make sure that students have technology before you assign something that requires it, or make arrangements to provide them with time at school
- I learned that you can't grade 120 papers the same way that you would grade 20. I had to learn to be less focused on minute details and more focused on the overall picture. It took me entirely too long to grade one paper.
- I found out that if you make an entire PowerPoint of warm-up activities ahead of time, you can just turn on the projector and go to work on something else.
- Forget the adage, “Don’t smile until Christmas.” Smiling and demonstrating a sense of humor will not compromise your authority. You may be the only adult who smiles or greets an individual student warmly today. You may never know the importance of those smiles or other expressions of caring.
And finally, I wish that someone could express how wonderful it feels at the end of the day when you remember that one student who looked at you with sincerity and a real longing for knowledge when you least expected it. I wish that someone could define that sparkle when kids actually connect with something you're saying or doing. Teaching is such a wonderful profession, no matter the problems that we encounter.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
For this assignment, Dr. Strange has instructed we do two things. First, create a blog post assignment we think he should have assigned to us. Second, complete the assignment we just created. I took this to mean we are to find a blog, article, or other website that is of interest to us and pertinent to EMD310. This still left a long list of potential sites for me to choose from in the short week I had to complete the assignment. My Diigo account has some 80+ articles, blogs and sites I have bookmarked, and the majority of my tweets are recommending great links. After reviewing several sites, and even thinking I had found "the one," I settled on a post from my Google Reader RSS feed by Mr. Larry Ferlazzo, a Sacramento high school English Language Learner teacher. (If you are interested, here is "the one" I thought I would be using. It was post in TeachHUB.com by Meg Ormiston.)
Proposed EDM310 Blog Post Assignment
- What sparked your interest in it over the others
- What you learned
- Leave a comment on that blog.
My Response to My Assignment
Mrs. Waters' posts are excellent for beginners like me. Although someone (Jamie Lynn or Allie) commented once telling me to use headers to separate my response to multiple sites on the same blog, it is not something I have been good at doing. I am and always have been long winded and my blog posts are no different. I really should spend more time making my blog visually appealing. I wrote most of my posts in the "Edit HTML" tab as I was trying to force myself to learn basic HTML code, but had I used the "Compose" tab a little more, perhaps this would not have been as big an issue. She mentions not copying and pasting from Word into your blog. This is hard for me not to do. I tend to use Word as my grammar checker since my computer and Blogger both have spell checker. Copying and pasting into "Edit HTML" cuts down on the amount of code I have to correct though.
One thing I would add to her "mistakes" list is not proofreading. I know it is easy to miss a homonym or two on occasion, or a typo, but if you are supposed to be an educator then you should be able to write a blog mostly free of basic grammatical mistakes. This does not have to be stressful to the point that you do not blog, but please, give your blogs and comments at least a once over before you post and do not, I repeat, DO NOT use texting or Twitter short hand on a blog. As much as I try to stay up on these shortcuts, not everyone knows what SMH or #edchat mean.
Mrs. Water's poses the following questions:
- What are your 3 most important tips for writing better blog posts?
- What blog post recently has made you want to comment and what was it about this post that engaged you?
- Has a post recently inspired you to write your own post? What was it about the post that made you take action?
My three tips are: proofread, learn basic HTML code, and make your blog visually appealing.
Yes, it is a pet peeve of mine, but I cannot stand to read a blog riddled with spelling and grammatical errors. I understand the occasional typo or commonly misused word, and am guilty of making my own mistakes. However, if you are going to take the time to write something for public viewing, take the few extra minutes and run it through a spelling and grammar checker. Please!
Learning basic HTML code can enhance your blogging experience. Perhaps this is because Dr. Strange required us to learn it, but knowing just a few commands really enhances a bloggers ability to write a good blog, good comments, and not be dependent on "compose" tabs.
Lastly, one I have learned over my brief four months of blogging, make your blog visually appealing. Dr. Strange has required us to add at least one picture with alt and title codes to all of our blogs, but this is not the only way to improve the look of your blog. Mrs. Waters list many of these in her "better blogger" post. I am guilty of many of those listed by her, but I am trying to remember to make shorter paragraphs and use headers. Just because a blogger is an educator, it does not limit them to Times New Roman 12 pt black. I would recommend using colors and fonts that are easily read however.
There are so many wonderful blog posts I have read over the last four months. Since I cannot remember the last post I commented on before Mrs. Waters, I will say hers is the last I wanted comment on. Even though I used her blog for this assignment, it was my choice as to which blog I chose for the assignment, so I think it counts. I chose her blog because it was pertinent to my blogging level. I am very much still a beginner blogger and I see myself using blogging for a long time, so I want to become skilled in it. Her tips were valid and helpful to me.
Ira David Socol's SpeEdChange "Writing without the Blocks" post not only inspired me to write my own post, but introduced me to a program I did not even know existed on my own computer and encouraged me to think of yet another way to help my future students engage and learn. I believe I first read a link to it via Twitter, but after reading it I had to try it. I have long struggled with spelling. One of the things I miss most about my iPhone is having a dictionary at my constant disposal. Besides, anything I already have free access to and can make learning easier for someone deserves a look.
Ed Yong's Discover Not Exactly Rocket Science blog post, "Are science blogs stuck in an echo chamber? Chamber? Chamber?" sparked my interest simply because I hold a biology degree and hope to teach science someday. As I read it, I realized it had little to do with educational blogging for students, but plenty of valid ideas for my personal blog. It was basically things I already knew, such as the best way to get views is to post links to your blog through social media such as Twitter and Facebook. I recently enjoyed an increase in viewers because a tweet with a link to my blog was re-tweeted by several people. It made my little geek heart happy! The heart of this blog however dealt with how to get the general population to visit (scientific) websites and blogs. Yong's main point is know your audience and the audience you want to reach. Basic writing concern, but in a digital age where you have tons of competition and only seconds to capture and retain some one's attention. I think his best advice for any type of writer is to avoid jargon with which non-degree holders might not be familiar.
I understand that I can not write a scientific blog with a ton of jargon and expect non-degree holding readers to understand everything I am saying, if they even read beyond the first few sentences. However, I do not see how one can write a scientific blog without any jargon. I think the best thing would be to use as little jargon as possible and explain it as necessary. For instance, I did not know what IWB was when I began EDM310. Dr. Strange did not give us a list of acronyms so I had to learn on my own that IWB means interactive white boards. Now, I do not expect a reader who stumbles upon my blog to pull up a dictionary or Google to understand by blog. That is a little absurd. However, just like every paper I have ever written if the first time I introduce a new specialized words I give a quick definition and if it has an acronym then I put the acronym in parenthesis and then I can use it as needed with the understanding that reader will now know what I am writing about. I can understand how this can be frustrating to the writer and unnecessary for a novice or expert reader, so perhaps there is a happy medium. Ultimately, it depends on how many readers you want to reach. Personally, I will be happy with as many fellow geeks as I can reach, but readership will not dictate everything I blog.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Sunday, April 10, 2011
|Image via Wikipedia|
|Something close to my dream classroom.|
Friday, April 8, 2011
Mr. McClung takes the time to break down what he expects from his students verses rules and procedures. This shows a lot of thought for not only how he wants his classroom to be run, but for what his students need to be successful. I really like his first expectation: STAY POSITIVE! As a student or a teacher it is easy to become discouraged with new material, deadlines, standardized testing and general differences in personalities and daily external pressures of life. I also found rule number four to be out of the ordinary and great advice for more than his class. Learning to make smart choices, by which I assume he means choices that are efficient, effective and best for whatever goals are to be achieved, at an early age will prepare one better for the rest of their lives. People who are most successful in life are the ones who did this early on. They planned ahead, learned to delay instant gratification for long term gratification and did not give up even when the steps for their goals required hard work on their part. I understand the need for structure in a classroom, and perhaps I will change my mind after working in a classroom for a longer time, but I really hate requiring students to raise their hands before participating in class discussions. Of course, I worked with 17-21 year olds initially so that might be the biggest difference. I did ask they let me know they needed to go to the restroom quietly instead of just getting up and leaving, but again, my students both past and hopefully present are at a near adult level and I hope I will be able to mostly treat them as such.
The first requirement that everyone needs is a day planner. With multiple classes and assignments, it is important to stay organized so that assignments are not turned in late or important dates missed. Mr. McClung's late homework penalties are no different than most teachers’ I have had (excluding such wonderful professors like Dr. Strange, who does not believe in grades, although he does prefer us to be on time with assignments). I even used the same penalties with my students. However, I am starting to question this policy with some recent reading I have done. I have not yet decided if this is a policy I will keep, primarily because I found it ineffective. Often struggling students for whom the homework should have been most beneficial turned in sloppy or incomplete work on time or took the penalty and received a better grade before the penalty. Which is better for the student? Of course, how do I encourage students who do not have an intrinsic interest in learning the material? I have so many things yet to work out for my own pedagogy.
I find his hopes for his blog feasible and quite apropos. A class blog should showcase the students’ work and keep parents informed of their students’ requirements. I hope to incorporate a blog into my classes as a teacher. After studying various schools’ blogs through our comments for kids and seeing how much I have learned from required blog posts, I can see the benefit of having students maintain a blog. Not to mention the benefit of students being up able to say they lost a document or forgot a deadline if the class blog is well maintained with such information. Parents as well will be able to stay on top of what their children are learning and will be able to refute lies of “I have no homework.” I can see posting rubrics so that parents can see exactly what is needed to achieve the highest grades. Issues I foresee are as follows: students without internet access and school policies which prohibit such activities.
While exploring the Useful Links I came across the link for Vocaroo. It is such a simple voice recording program. I did not see a way to edit or do anything fancy, but there is nothing to download and embedding into a blog is extremely easy. Here is my test recording:
Two other sites I found interesting included Biology Corner and Guys Read. As a hopeful biology teacher I found many useful lab worksheets on Biology Corner. Guys Read is a great site because it encourages boys to read by compiling lists of books by topic that boys are more likely to be interested in reading. Considering most of the young men I have encountered so far struggled more than their female counterparts in reading, this is a great resource for teachers and parents to encourage their students to read. Mr. McClung's list is vast and covers more than the topics he teaches. This is a sign a great teacher. It is easy to get wrapped up in your own discipline with the vast curriculum, 180 day-ish restrictions, and seemingly ever increasing number of state and federal standardized tests. It is refreshing to see a teacher who provides resources for other disciplines, which will only lead to better students and, as he lists in his rules, a happy teacher.
I found the internet safety guidelines adequate and honestly can not think of anything he missed. It is important that students learn how to protect themselves on the internet. If students know how to protect themselves properly then teachers, principals and ultimately parents will be more likely to feel comfortable letting their students use the internet for learning.
I was assigned the Susan G. Komen for the Cure post. The post described Mr. McClung's challenge for his classes to raise money for the charity. Susan G. Komen foundation hosts "Race for the Cure" races all over the country to raise money to fund the world's largest cancer research program. He lists the goal, $2000, ways that others can participate, and, the part I am sure the students are most excited about, the prize for accomplishing the goal, head shaves and hair dyes! Mr. McClung and the boys will have their heads shaved and the girls will get to dye their hair pink. It sounds like lots of fun.
I would love to say I found something wonderful about Edublog, but honestly I did not explore it. I should have. There was so much to this assignment however that I did not read this requirement until just now, and with my skill for procrastination, it is Sunday and I have run out of time. I guess there are a few features I found useful, but I am not sure if they are or are not available on blogger. The archives and the category selection drop downs were very useful.
Mr. McClung has included many links that students and parents will find useful. He has organized it well so that the important information such as the syllabus and rules are easily found, but the blogs true focus, students' work and special assignments (such as the Susan G. Komen event)is the main feature. Again, the archives and category selection menus are another great way to allow for maximum organization and easy of navigation for the parents, students and other visitors.
All of the student blogs I visited were for younger grades. Even when the blog had a central location, each student had their own page. Mr. McClung's blog does not link individual students' blogs. I assume this means they do not have individual class blogs. I wonder if it is his choice or school policy. I think allowing the students to individual class blogs is a great idea. It allows each student a way to reflect, to share and to teach.
I think Mr. McClung's passion for teaching shows through his blog. If Arkansas schools allow it, the only suggestion I have is for him to set up individual student blogs. I hope I did not miss the link if he does have them already. I call myself having looked. Otherwise, I say keep up the good work!
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
I have to “teach someone something” for my EDM310 class. Dr. Strange requested I learn and teach someone about posterous.com. I have used it some, but not enough to feel completely comfortable with all of the features yet. He did not say I had to be an expert, but I do want to be comfortable with most of the features. The one thing I love most about Posterous is that it updates multiple social networks at one time. It also has a feature that allows you to subscribe to other blogs, and it e-mails updates to you weekly. Of course, one problem is when it updates to your blogger and you aren’t really posting a full post. I guess this isn’t really a problem if you don’t mind a lot of short blog posts, but I do. It is nice that you can update all of your sites via e-mail, especially if you are like me and without a smart phone at the moment. I only have Facebook, Twitter and Blogger right now, so I am not sure about the other sites that Posterous will update to via e-mail. I have attached a few types of documents to this post so that I can see how they fair in blogger.
Lisianna Emmett Calendar
Out of Office
Outside of Working Hours
Before 8:00 AM
Outside of Working Hours
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
After 5:00 PM
Outside of Working Hours
Outside of Working Hours
Before 8:00 AM
Outside of Working Hours
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
After 5:00 PM
Outside of Working Hours
Sunday, April 3, 2011
I don’t think there is much more that I can say about Dan Brown’s video that he or Morgan didn’t already say. Nearly all of my classes, especially my freshman and sophomore year, were spent listening to a lecture covering information straight from the textbook. By the time I finished my second semester at South (I was a sophomore), I waited to buy my textbooks after classes started to make sure the professor was going to do more than require us to read the book because I found it spent most of the semester as a paper weight if not. I understand that one must have a basic understanding of the material, and that not everyone does well without someone explaining something to them. However, after experiencing a class like EDM310 where students are required to learn what they need, how they need without meeting 3 hours a week to listen to a professor dictate from a book I could have (and should have) read on my own. Aside from EDM, which I feel is a special case being such a technology heavy course, I think the class I most enjoyed was my Diversity in Education course with Dr. Juarez. She would assign readings to us, and then instead of her telling us what the author said, we would actually discuss as a class what we felt was being said. Now, this isn’t to say she never lectured, but that she didn’t lecture on assigned readings like most of my other professors did. I do agree with Morgan that Dan did take his protest farther than I would have. As Richard Howell pointed out in his comment, we still need our college degrees in order to move up in our society.
Don't Let Them Take The Pencils Home!
Mr. Spencer’s satire evoked a smile. How could it not? As is true with most satires, he only exaggerates reality. It is not that irrationally logical people are not needed to prevent lawsuits and the like in schools, but so often they get wrapped up in the legal concerns or the minute details that they forget schools are meant for learning. How else do we expect children to know how to do things if we do not show them? Yes, parents are responsible for teaching as well, but where do students spend half of their waking hours? School. So, it is a teacher’s responsibility as well to teach acceptable behavior in areas that affect the school environment.
The first post “Not Your Grandma’s Conference” described a 1:1 conference she attended where 100 students and 100 teachers gathered to learn, collaborate and present together. Although there seems to still be some separation of the two groups, students working on a solution for “environment and challenges of urban living” and the teachers focusing on “a globally collaborative project they can implement in their schools,” all projects were shared and “judged” by all 200 attendees. She found the other great things about this conference to be: leadership, flexibility and approach. Nearly everyone who attended are in the classroom daily, therefore they have real world experience and not just hypothetical situations, and although it was well planned and booked, the planners, Julie and Vicki changed things as needed to allow as much collaboration and learning to take place as possible. She did feel that three things could be tweaked to make the conference better: more mixing of students and teachers, more time for the conference, and “structured planning for presenters.”
I found this conference very interesting. This is professional development (PD) beyond what I can envision happening here in Mobile, having attended one PD event where a very nice, well-informed and organized woman taught us about student’s emotional needs, but where I feel I learned almost nothing. I would love to see videos of the presentations to get a better idea of what happens at this “Flat Classroom event.”
The next post I chose was “Students as Teachers: 6th Grade Tutorial Designers.” I know I have often said I loved something this semester in EDM310, but I LOVED the ideas in this post! Kim is having her technology students make instructional videos on something that interests them (sounds a lot like our project 14!). She is also considering having them make a tutorial teaching student in 6th grade or lower something that other teachers could use in their classroom. She is quite detailed in how she is having her students go about this project, which is helpful for other teachers who might wish to do the same. Kim brought up several struggles her students had with this project, including the reason for the project that most seem to be unable to work without direct instruction. She suspects this is mostly due to the Japanese culture because they are constantly instructed on what to do, how to do it and when to do it, even to hold onto the rail for the escalator. She (and I) hopes this project will allow them to work on independent, self-directed learning abilities.
I told her how I have been reading about engaging students more in their learning experiences by giving them more control over what they learn. This project seems to be doing just that, plus the added bonus of breaking their students their comfort zone considering the cultural norm. Although I am sure the need for direct instruction is much greater in Japan, I have found that American high school students often need or want to be told exactly what to do as well. Of course, I think this is more conditioning by teachers than it is by American society. Kim mentioned posting all of the tutorials to a website for everyone to view, and I have subscribed to her blog in hopes of seeing how this project turns out when her school opens back up.
Picture from Kim Cofino's blog.